Posts Tagged isolation

Misery loves company

Most people are brought up with the belief that its wrong to share feelings of grief with others. Parents and people who shape our behavior in childhood sometimes wrongly discourage exhibiting our sadness. An example could be a mother telling her son, “Brave boys don’t cry when they get hurt.” or that “You’re grown up now, stop acting like a baby and wipe your tears.” This results in the child associating feelings of shame in showing that he is hurt or grieving and keep things bottled up. He feels like he should always keep a stiff upper lip and act tough in face of all catastrophes. Have you ever met someone who always smiles when he talks about something horrible that has happened to him? Someone who always seems to joke about tragic and morbid things?

Society as a whole discourages expression of one’s grief and emotional pain. This inevitably results in the cultivation of a population of emotionally inept people. Well meaning family and friends seldom know what to say or how to respond to a tragedy. Being grown up is taken to mean that you should be able to take anything in a stride. It’s considered effeminate for men to express grief and pain. Does being an adult mean you’re not supposed to feel? Does showing vulnerability make you less of a man? Pretending that something tragic hasn’t happened has become ‘normal’. Covering up anxiety, fears and feelings of despair is preferred and is the more ‘proper’ and ‘sensible’ thing to do. Not crying at the death of a loved one is considered the more ‘dignified’ way to grieve. Not dealing with pain has become the way to deal with it. This ‘normal’ is nothing but abnormal and people think its acceptable because that’s what everyone is doing. It’s important to realize that a person can never run away from emotional pain. It always catches up and manifests itself in the strangest of ways. Depression, aches and pains, phobias and personality disorders are just a few of the endless problems that come to mind. You can’t wish away anguish.

Since there are so many of us out there, not talking about our grief and sadness, it wrongly inculcates the belief that we are alone in how we feel. This misconception does nothing but add to our pain. Especially, since other depressed people assume that we are happier than we are. Happier than they are. This can lead to feelings of isolation and resentment. People can go around feeling that ‘everyone has it better than us’. Misery does love company and there is a great comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our pain. So parents tell your kids its OK to cry if they feel like it. And don’t feel shame in crying yourself. Don’t belittle someone else’s problems and imagine them to be trivial compared to your own. Everybody hurts sometimes. 🙂

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